Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on The Reading Life
Click here to read “Apollo”
I have been reading the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for a few years. I have posted on two of her three novels, Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus as well as four of her short stories. I hope to read her latest novel Americanah by the end of next year. (A detailed bio and links to her short stories can be found on her website.)
“Apollo” is set in Enugu, in Southeastern Nigeria. The narrator as the story opens is just back from a visit to his parents. They are retired professors, he was their only child, born many years into the marriage. He notices his parents are reverting to folk beliefs they would have once scoffed at. On this latest visit they have news about a house boy they fired fifteen years ago, Raphael. He was arrested as a leader of a gang doing house robberies.
The narrator begins to think back about Raphael, he was only thirteen. His parents wanted him to focus on studies and love reading as they did. He wanted to learn Kung Fu. Raphael begins to teach him. We feel a possible sexual stirring.
I don’t want to spoil the second half of the story but you will see the narrator is still troubled by an incident from long ago. Plus you can learn why the story is called “Apollo”, space travel is not involved.
This is a very interesting story, about memory, relationships with ageing parents, class markers all subtly done.
Please share your experience with the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with us.